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Old 01-07-2021, 12:53 AM   #1
Pbuckley
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Default Keep on the Borderlands

Thinking about running Keep on the Borderlands in GURPS, no I will not be using Dungeon Fantasy I found some conversion for old style DnD.

I am so using my own world, so i have to do a lot of work to not only convert the module to GUPRs but to convert it to my setting. So don't assume I can just use any monsters. just fishing for general advice on the topic. If anyone has converted the actual module to GURPS that would be a great start.
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Old 01-07-2021, 07:41 AM   #2
seycyrus
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Default Re: Keep on the Borderlands

I run a game in that setting using the larger world of Mystara as a backdrop.

The first thing I did was to make it a bit more "plausible".

In the original, the caves are within an hour's walk of the keep. Even if you make it 3 hours because of difficult terrain, that still seems way too close for a threat that of that nature to exist near the local symbol of law.

I put my caves at about a day's travel, with the safest route taking about double that time.

The caves themselves are also way too close to each other for my taste, in some cases being within a few minutes travel. I spread em out a bit more, and made sure that traveling "up and down" between "levels" of the hillside was not that straightforward.

I replaced the evil priests with a highly Charismatic Leader who is the leader of a "Third Party" in the valley. He keeps the various tribes from each other's throats (most of the time) as he tries to get the humanoids focused on his ultimate goals - apparently the excavation and continued exploration of the temple. He brought a few human allies (but are they?) with him.

Granted my knowledge is at least a few editions out of date, but in DnD it seems the languages come too easy. In my game, very few of the PCs and/or NPCs speak ANY of the humanoid languages, and the humanoids can't automatically communicate with each other either. The Charismatic Leader CAN speak all the humanoid languages, which helps him immensely in keeping everyone working towards his goal.

Each of the humanoid tribes has their own goal of course.
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Old 01-07-2021, 07:50 AM   #3
seycyrus
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Default Re: Keep on the Borderlands

One of my problems in using original DnD stuff with Gurps is maintaining the "pecking order" of the undead that was pretty straightforward in DnD.

Skeletons and Zombies are not an issue, but the "wispier" undead (ghasts, wraiths, wights ,shadows etc.) seem to blend into each other.

I run a lower magic setting where magic items are fairly rare and I want the PCs to be able to damage the undead (at least a little!) without having to worry about any "magical weapon needed to hit".
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Old 01-07-2021, 08:07 AM   #4
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Keep on the Borderlands

Quote:
Originally Posted by seycyrus View Post
O

I run a lower magic setting where magic items are fairly rare and I want the PCs to be able to damage the undead (at least a little!) without having to worry about any "magical weapon needed to hit".
When doing D&D to Gurps you have to go a long way out of your way to emulate "Needs Magic Weapon to Hit". In my World of D'y'r't games (which all translated various D&D modules) I ignored the trait.

Indeed, I never did "numerical" translations but simply went from D&D monster to Gurps monster by equivalent naming i.e. D&D Orc to gurps Orc.

Some of the "wispy" Undead might be Insubstantial and need Ghost Weapon to hit but that's a somewhat different matter. Or Affects Insubstantial on a Power but I built no Powers for my translating. Too much trouble.
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Old 01-07-2021, 08:19 AM   #5
WingedKagouti
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Default Re: Keep on the Borderlands

Quote:
Originally Posted by seycyrus View Post
I run a lower magic setting where magic items are fairly rare and I want the PCs to be able to damage the undead (at least a little!) without having to worry about any "magical weapon needed to hit".
Have you considered implementing various real world "traditional" ways of handling ghosts and spirits as effective tools in your setting? It'd keep magical weapons as truly special items that are capable of hurting the supernatural, but still allow players to deal with ghostly enemies without needing to resort to Magery-based magic or magic items.
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Old 01-07-2021, 09:25 AM   #6
Kromm
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Default Re: Keep on the Borderlands

"Magical weapon to hit" was originally a scrim pulled over all the various ways folklore recommended for fighting the supernatural. "This object has had the right prayers or magic words said over it" is fine in a culture with specific beliefs concerning a small number of bogeys, but less fine in a kitchen-sink fantasy with all the world's beliefs and bogeys hacked 'n' slashed in a blender and poured out for easy consumption. It's very definitely the case that requiring magical weapons to hit monsters was a quick-and-dirty way to finesse the issue generically (though thanks to early RPGs being group efforts with minimal line direction, a few monsters got more specific despite this, muddying the waters).

GURPS has MUCH higher resolution, so it's better to go with specifics. Yes, some rare few beings are very specifically vulnerable to the spells of wizards, and probably should require magic weapons . . . but for the rest, mix in blessed weapons, silver weapons, thorn trees, prayers, incense, peach blossoms, and all the rest. Match the solution to the problem.

Which said, all-or-nothing approaches like "total invulnerability unless . . ." make for boring games. GURPS uses only one example of that with any regularity: insubstantiality. Otherwise, it's better to go with increased-but-finite DR or Injury Tolerance (Damage Reduction) vs. everything but one item, Regeneration with Accessibility not vs. that item, Supernatural Durability with that item as its flaw, Unkillable with an Achilles Heel to that item, Vulnerability to the item, etc. Note that all of these can specify generic "magic," if that's suitable or just floats your boat.
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Old 01-07-2021, 11:24 AM   #7
Stormcrow
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ronkonkoma, NY
Default Re: Keep on the Borderlands

When people talk about "converting" D&D to GURPS, I worry that they're trying to mathematically process D&D numbers into GURPS numbers. Don't do that! Translate the ideas of one game into the mechanics of the other.

Take the ogre cave in the module, for instance. Maybe GURPS has an ogre racial template, I dunno. I don't really need one. An ogre is basically just a giant, stupid, super-strong person that likes to bash others with clubs.

ST 20, DX 10, IQ 8, HT 11.
SM+1, Per 10, Will 10. DR 1 (tough skin). Brawling 12, Axe/Mace 14.
Speed 5.25, Move 5, Dodge 8, Parry 9.
Club (treat as mace) 3d+5 cr. Fur tunic (DR 1, torso).

Does this match anything in a GURPS book? I have no idea, and it doesn't really matter. The players aren't going to be examining my notes. If it's not right, I'll know better next time. I might need to raise his Strength.

If we suppose that $1 = 1 silver piece, then the values of each sack in the leather bag are easy to figure out. Or use a different exchange rate if you like.

The six Arrows +1 are arrows with a +1 Accuracy enchantment. The Potion of Invisibility is as described on Magic page 216. The magic scroll with clerical Cure Light Wounds and Hold Person works for anyone with Power Investiture, and contains the spells Minor Healing and Total Paralysis at Power 15.

The ogre doesn't have exactly the same stats as the D&D version, and the magic items work a little differently than the D&D versions, but basically you've got the same encounter, just GURPS-style. You can do this sort of conversation pretty quickly. Even in your head and improvised when you get good at it.

Last edited by Stormcrow; 01-08-2021 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 01-07-2021, 06:23 PM   #8
Pbuckley
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Default Re: Keep on the Borderlands

Quote:
Originally Posted by seycyrus View Post
I run a game in that setting using the larger world of Mystara as a backdrop.

The first thing I did was to make it a bit more "plausible".

In the original, the caves are within an hour's walk of the keep. Even if you make it 3 hours because of difficult terrain, that still seems way too close for a threat that of that nature to exist near the local symbol of law.

I put my caves at about a day's travel, with the safest route taking about double that time.

The caves themselves are also way too close to each other for my taste, in some cases being within a few minutes travel. I spread em out a bit more, and made sure that traveling "up and down" between "levels" of the hillside was not that straightforward.

I replaced the evil priests with a highly Charismatic Leader who is the leader of a "Third Party" in the valley. He keeps the various tribes from each other's throats (most of the time) as he tries to get the humanoids focused on his ultimate goals - apparently the excavation and continued exploration of the temple. He brought a few human allies (but are they?) with him.

Granted my knowledge is at least a few editions out of date, but in DnD it seems the languages come too easy. In my game, very few of the PCs and/or NPCs speak ANY of the humanoid languages, and the humanoids can't automatically communicate with each other either. The Charismatic Leader CAN speak all the humanoid languages, which helps him immensely in keeping everyone working towards his goal.

Each of the humanoid tribes has their own goal of course.
I have been watching Mr. Welches series on Mystara recently myself, it's actually what convinced me that running or playing Keep would be awesome, though Dungeon Crafts Vids had originally peaked my interest. Sadly I got stuck running... I'll definitely keep the distances in mind... I won't have to necessarily worry too much about the different caves and how each one relates to one another due to the villain group I will be using for the caves... Though I might consider having them be a bit more at odds now that you bring up the idea of different agenda's...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
"Magical weapon to hit" was originally a scrim pulled over all the various ways folklore recommended for fighting the supernatural. "This object has had the right prayers or magic words said over it" is fine in a culture with specific beliefs concerning a small number of bogeys, but less fine in a kitchen-sink fantasy with all the world's beliefs and bogeys hacked 'n' slashed in a blender and poured out for easy consumption. It's very definitely the case that requiring magical weapons to hit monsters was a quick-and-dirty way to finesse the issue generically (though thanks to early RPGs being group efforts with minimal line direction, a few monsters got more specific despite this, muddying the waters).

GURPS has MUCH higher resolution, so it's better to go with specifics. Yes, some rare few beings are very specifically vulnerable to the spells of wizards, and probably should require magic weapons . . . but for the rest, mix in blessed weapons, silver weapons, thorn trees, prayers, incense, peach blossoms, and all the rest. Match the solution to the problem.

Which said, all-or-nothing approaches like "total invulnerability unless . . ." make for boring games. GURPS uses only one example of that with any regularity: insubstantiality. Otherwise, it's better to go with increased-but-finite DR or Injury Tolerance (Damage Reduction) vs. everything but one item, Regeneration with Accessibility not vs. that item, Supernatural Durability with that item as its flaw, Unkillable with an Achilles Heel to that item, Vulnerability to the item, etc. Note that all of these can specify generic "magic," if that's suitable or just floats your boat.
Yeah that's pretty much how I do it in my setting. Insubstantial, DR and Resistances with a limitation. Generally Silver (Or Silvered) Weapons, Magic Spells, or Magicked Weapons get thru it. Took it from the Elder Scrolls.

Havent used Unkillable for that yet... Might try that one.

Last edited by Pbuckley; 01-07-2021 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 01-07-2021, 06:35 PM   #9
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Keep on the Borderlands

Quote:
Originally Posted by seycyrus View Post
In the original, the caves are within an hour's walk of the keep. Even if you make it 3 hours because of difficult terrain, that still seems way too close for a threat that of that nature to exist near the local symbol of law.
It's the equivalent of a pair of fortresses staring at each other across a disputed border.

The biggest problem I see with Keep on the Borderlands is that it's intended for level 1-3, and even starting delvers are stronger than that (but don't gain power as fast). Something like a patrol of six goblins is a legit concern for level 1 PCs in original D&D.
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Old 01-07-2021, 06:43 PM   #10
Pbuckley
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Default Re: Keep on the Borderlands

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
It's the equivalent of a pair of fortresses staring at each other across a disputed border.

The biggest problem I see with Keep on the Borderlands is that it's intended for level 1-3, and even starting delvers are stronger than that (but don't gain power as fast). Something like a patrol of six goblins is a legit concern for level 1 PCs in original D&D.
My players will be starting at around 75 CP, and will have around 100 by the time they reach the keep... A bit weaker but far from Dungeon Fantasy Levels by far. Using a ADnD to GURPS conversion thing. Though that supplement suggests around 120. It's assuming people take race and or class templates from it... I am using my world and my Race/Culture templates tend to be a bit... more potent than they really need to be. On top of that I am not forcing class templates even though I have a couple of mad munchkins in my group...

Last edited by Pbuckley; 01-07-2021 at 06:46 PM.
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